The Cost of Labor

I’m a maker.  In addition to making narratives, poetry, and other forms of written work, I dabble in carpentry, cabinetry, pottery, gardening, stonework, painting, sewing, rope work, carving, weaving, and a few other activities that will come to me later.  I enjoy making, and I enjoy being around other folks who do so as well.  

There are two ideas floating around the maker world that I’ve seen expressed in different ways, and they always make me chuckle.  

The first is usually found at craft shows or fairs, and it’s a form of, “Sure, he can make it, but will he?” 

As a quick aside, I’m sure “she” could make it too, but I don’t believe I’ve ever seen that sign.

The second idea deals with the cost of a service or making of an item.  There’s the basic price, the price that is charged if you watch, and the price that is charged if you help.  Guess which is the cheapest?  Here’s a clue: It’s the one that doesn’t involve you being in the room as the work is being done.

Both of these ideas are floating through my mind this very day, and it’s been tough.

You see, until about two hours ago, the roof on my house leaked.

Before I continue, I’ve got to give a quick tip of the hat to Jerry Garcia and David Grisman for the lyrics to their version of “Arkansas Traveler.” 

Well, hello stranger
Can’t you see that your roof is leaking?
Why don’t you fix it?

Well, right now it’s rainin’ too hard
And when the suns a shinin’
Why, it don’t leak!

Anyway, like I was sayin’, my roof leaked.  In addition to that, I tend to pick up other folks’ speech habits, but that’s another story.

Thinking about how to address that leak, I had a conundrum.  That is, I can do the work, but I don’t have the time.  To be clear, I’ve laid a shingle or two in my day, but I have a flaw in my disposition that accounts for the two guys who are currently on top of my house: I’m a ponderer.  I think too much.  In a word, I’m slow.  I can probably do it, but it’s going to take a lot of time.

I’m fortunate right now to have the resources to have someone else do the work, but I’m absolutely itching to get out there and help.  With my speed, though, they’d charge me double.  

Rightly so, rightly so.

9 thoughts on “The Cost of Labor”

  1. Great slice, Tim. It made me smile thinking of you wanting to join in for a little shingling fun! But then recognizing that you are a ponderer, thinker and too slow! Funny. Glad you can get someone else to get the job done. It will give you more time for some of your other many maker projects.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OH very fun! I great post. My problem is I know just enough to get me in trouble so I have learned not to start a job and just let someone else really do the work. Sit back and relax while they work! Maybe crave something or weave something. There is always something to be made.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joanne, there is always something to be made — you’re right! I usually know enough to know what I don’t know, but then I want to know more. You know? 🙂


  3. I do this too! I look around at craft fairs and think that they are projects within my scope of skill. I *could* do these things. *Will* I? Eh…And as for the home repair, my husband and son could do a fair amount of that as well, but as you say, there’s something to be said for having others come in and take care of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Why waste your creativity on something as mundane as roofing? Your meditative time is far more valuable than that! 🙂

    I always love your posts. I may not always comment (not quite awake early in the morning, you see), but I’m always enjoying!

    Liked by 1 person

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